DAERA confirms further positive test results for Avian Influenza in wild seabirds in Co Antrim
Following on from confirmed positive test results for Avian Influenza (AI) in birds from Rathlin Island; the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has confirmed positive results for AI in 1 Gannet and 4 Guillemots from the North Coast (Portrush West Strand and Portballintrea).
The Public Health Agency has advised that human infections with Avian Influenza are rare and that the risk to the general public’s health is very low, however it is vital that the public do not pick up or touch any dead or injured wild birds as this can cause the disease to spread to other colonies of seabirds or poultry flocks.
The Department continues to work closely with all stakeholders including the Public Health Agency and local councils in relation to this matter and has taken proactive measures to improve biosecurity at seabird breeding colonies.
The general public are reminded not to pick up or touch sick, dying or dead birds, and keep pets away from them. If anyone finds a dead wild bird they are asked to report it to the DAERA helpline 0300 200 7840, however not all will be collected for surveillance. Where dead wild birds are not required for surveillance purposes, it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcasses.
Please refer to the DAERA website for further information on disposal.
Since the beginning of June 2022, there have been positive avian influenza results obtained from dead wild birds submitted from three locations in Northern Ireland: Portrush, Bangor, Lough Erne and Rathlin Island.
Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must, by law, report it to their local DAERA Direct Office.
DAERA encourages all bird keepers (however small) to register their flocks so that they can be communicated with directly with future communications and updates. Registration is straightforward by contacting your local DAERA Direct office or online via the DAERA website.
Flock keepers can also sign up to the text alert service simply by texting 'BIRDS' to 67300 to receive immediate notification of any important disease information which will help to protect flocks at the earliest opportunity.
An Avian Influenza Hub with further advice can be found on the DAERA website.